Thursday, March 31, 2016

May you stay forever young

I'm not doing this properly at all, because I'm in a hurry and not spending proper time on it. But I just found out William Shatner (one of my Glass Character obsessions) just turned 85. Yes. Eighty-five. THAT.

When you look at poor old Bob Dylan, in photos of him from the '80s and '90s, he looks like 20 miles of bad road. Shatner? I always think he made a deal with the devil, but he must have gotten the best part of the bargain.

When you see him walk confidently onstage now, you think: there's a good-looking man in his 60s, ruddy of complexion, obviously not Botoxed or facelifted like those awful male ruins, Burt Reynolds and Mickey Rourke. That's just him.

My daughter and I used to talk about "good-smelling men". Harrison Ford: good-smelling. Tom Cruise: (marginally) good-smelling. Brad Pitt: blecccchh.

Shatner's good-smelling, he makes the list. You can just tell.

Two people I always hoped to meet, and never will: Shatner and Dylan, both of whom made deals with the devil in their own way.

Whether it's genetics, good bones, spirit, will, or a combination, Shatner has come away with the prize: he never seems to age. Like that guy on Star Trek who was all those different famous people. . . and we sadly watched Nimoy shrivel away in the past year, the two of them exactly the same age, and spiritual brothers.

Never mind, got to go now, hate to slap this up but can't finish it now. The last two gifs are from videos taken about ten days ago. Right up to date. Try to believe that man is 85.

Darkness at the break of noon

Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child's balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying.

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fools gold mouthpiece
The hollow horn plays wasted words
Proved to warn
That he not busy being born
Is busy dying.

Temptation's page flies out the door
You follow, find yourself at war
Watch waterfalls of pity roar
You feel to moan but unlike before
You discover
That you'd just be
One more person crying.

So don't fear if you hear
A foreign sound to you ear
It's alright, Ma, I'm only sighing.

As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don't hate nothing at all
Except hatred.

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their marks
Made everything from toy guns that sparks
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It's easy to see without looking too far
That not much
Is really sacred.

While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the President of the United States
Sometimes must have
To stand naked.

An' though the rules of the road have been lodged
It's only people's games that you got to dodge
And it's alright, Ma, I can make it.

Advertising signs that con you
Into thinking you're the one
That can do what's never been done
That can win what's never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you.

You lose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand without nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks
They really found you.

A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit to
Insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not forget
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to.

Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to.

For them that must obey authority
That they do not respect in any degree
Who despite their jobs, their destinies
Speak jealously of them that are free
Cultivate their flowers to be
Nothing more than something
They invest in.

While some on principles baptized
To strict party platforms ties
Social clubs in drag disguise
Outsiders they can freely criticize
Tell nothing except who to idolize
And then say God Bless him.

While one who sings with his tongue
on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society's pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he's in.

But I mean no harm nor put fault
On anyone that lives in a vault
But it's alright, Ma, if I can't please him.

Old lady judges, watch people in pairs
Limited in sex, they dare
To push fake morals, insult and stare
While money doesn't talk, it swears
Obscenity, who really cares
Propaganda, all is phony.

While them that defend what they
cannot see
With a killer's pride, security
It blows the minds most bitterly
For them that think death's honesty
Won't fall upon them naturally
Life sometimes
Must get lonely.

My eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards
False gods, I scuff
At pettiness which plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say okay, I have had enough
What else can you show me ?

And if my thought-dreams could been seen
They'd probably put my head in a guillotine
But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only.

So What Does The Poem Mean? or - how to macerate a great lyric.

Like everybody, I listened to this as a teenager and said, oh wow. I said, somebody understands me.

Ironically, at this stage in his life anyway, Bob Dylan was far too acidly hip and self-involved to understand anybody, or want to bother. So how did he fish out lines like "he not busy being born is busy dying"? It's one of those statements that sounds as if it's always been there. And at the same time: why didn't anyone think of that before? I get that same feeling listening to Gershwin. Sometimes I think they're the same person, in fact (and I'll try to find the video of Dylan singing "Soon" at a Gershwin tribute. Like every other songwriter breathing on the planet, he more-than-appreciates Gershwin's greatness. Perhaps more than the average dunce-headed non-genius ever could.)

There's an odd sort of parallel with Gershwin, in fact. Dylan is still a songwriter's songwriter, someone more deeply appreciated and envied by other artists than by the general (ignorant, though sometimes too-adoring) public. That means lots and lots of covers, most of them pretty watered-down. They come out about as good-sounding as Dylan's covers of other people's stuff - lousy, in other words.

I can't illustrate this thing, the whole idea is stupid. I have something on my mind, WAY on my mind. A former friend of mine died, or maybe didn't, over the weekend, on Easter Sunday in fact. I got this cryptic message from his partner. They are both named Paul. The Paul who maybe-died, maybe-died on Easter Sunday: had a stroke from which he was not expected to recover. But I still don't really know if he is "dead".

Paul was/is (?) a spiritualist medium who set up his own church on the Island. Always a bad idea. The last time I knew someone who set up his own church, it quickly turned into civil war, a kind of spiritual Rwanda which sent everyone running for cover, permanently scalded.

Can't say it was that bad in his church, because I wasn't there, but I do know that whatever psychic ability he had dissolved in self-importance long ago. It turned into his own little fiefdom, rife with adoring blue-haired old ladies being fed whatever he was manufacturing on that particular week.

I know how I am supposed to feel. How I DO feel is confused. I've never in my life put a curse on someone before, but I did, I got my mojo working because of some things, a lot of things, he said and did to me.

How does it happen, how can it come to be, that you can be abused for so many years you don't notice it any more? How much anger accumulates? Is it really possible to curse someone? And this was all over Gershwin, my time-travel writings about him which he at first took very seriously, then mocked, disparaged and even expressed contempt for. He would only be threatened so far by an amateur like me. Ultimately, he accused me of making it all up to impress him.

Years ago he read a tiny sample of a novel I had written and dismissed it as a "zany soap opera". Told me to be very, very careful about sending it to publishers for fear of what they would tell me about it. He did not understand why I broke off the friendship and believed I was being oversensitive. Years and years later he wrote me an apology, saying I had stirred up his issues which caused him to flee in terror. I forgave him, not realizing that what he really said was "look what you made me do".

I never expected to write about this, probably shouldn't. Of course you can't put a curse on someone! My Haitian voodoo stage now seems rather laughable, and it sure didn't help my book sales. Those yarn dolls are a hobby, a habit, I make versions of them with my grandkids for fun. The one thumbtacked to my bulletin board with a little noose hanging beside it is just for decoration.

Bob Dylan once gave an interview for 60 Minutes in which he said he had made a deal with the devil. He has an uneasy but obsessive relationship with fame. He needs to be in the public eye, I can see that. But has lost an arm in return.

Like Bilbo Baggins, his life has been stretched out thin by wearing, however briefly, the Ring of Power. Now he cannot die, as perhaps my friend, ex-friend, curseworthy quasi-friend cannot die, or is dead already and hovering around like an oppressive shadow.

WTM moment (wait-there's-more): I don't know why it takes me so much time to make these connections! I started thinking back to when and where I first met Paul, decades ago. It was in a class he taught at Douglas College called The Anthropology of Religion. This wasn't religion as in hallelujah and God and let's put our bucks in the collection plate. This was in the realm of datura, toad-boiling, poison darts, and fatal curses that literally strike people down in their tracks. It was "primitive" medicine, juju/mojo at its finest, and darkest. Hey, here's where I learned it all, folks! - at the feet of this strange figure who became so alienated from himself, or others, or at least from any sense of humility. It seemed laughable I'd try on any of this myself, and of course we all know it has no effect anyway. Doesn't matter whether I got my mojo working or not. I'm not even sure if the man is dead.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ring Them Bells

Fifty Shades of WTF?

What goes around comes around. Or so they say. Never was this more satisfyingly proven than in this instance, in which the worst book I never read became a sort of throwaway, the kind of thing you give to Goodwill because you're never going to wear/read it again. In spite of the fact that a movie sequel is in the works, if not out already, at least some readers are tiring of the tawdry world of women enjoying getting the shit beat out of them. That kind of mindset sank the Ghomeshi trial sufficiently that he walked free - a fact that hit me so hard that I haven't even been able to write about it, much as I saw it coming. Why this strange phenomenon happened in an Oxfam store in Swansea, Wales, is anyone's guess, but maybe they just have better literary taste there, a hangover (!) from their most illustrious literary son, Dylan Thomas. Well, or at least their drunkest literary son.

Fifty Shades of Grey: the book you literally can’t give away

A branch of Oxfam in Swansea has asked donors to bring ‘less Fifty Shades and more 60s vinyl’. Are Britain’s charity shops stuffed with more bestselling soft porn than they know what to do with?

Emine Saner   @eminesaner

Wednesday 23 March 2016

With almost enough copies of Fifty Shades of Grey to build its own sex dungeon, a branch of Oxfam in Swansea has asked people to stop donating the erotic novel or any of its sequels. “We appreciate all your donations, but less Fifty Shades and more 60s and 70s vinyl would be good,” wrote Phil Broadhurst, the shop’s manager, in a post on Facebook.

For a while, Oxfam published a list of its most-donated authors; between 2009 and 2012, Dan Brown was top. Could EL James and her Fifty Shades have beaten the Da Vinci Code author? “I think Dan Brown is still pipping it, actually, but [Fifty Shades] is up there,” says David Taylor at the Oxfam bookshop in Salisbury. Copies of Fifty Shades there are sent to the local depot for redistribution to other shops; his branch doesn’t sell it. “It sounds snobby, but there are 10 charity shops in our street and you can buy it in any one of them,” he says. “There’s no point in us selling it.”

Other bookshops are not reporting much in the way of bestselling soft porn. “We get our fair share,” says an employee at a British Heart Foundation shop in Edinburgh, but it isn’t one of the shop’s most-donated books. “I don’t even think we’ve got any in,” says the manager of a charity shop in Liverpool.

At the Red Cross bookshop in New Romney in Kent, only two or three copies of Fifty Shades have been donated. The most-donated books, says assistant manager Lorraine Logan, “would probably be Lee Child, Karin Slaughter, that type – crime fiction”. They also get a lot of military history and books about the area. “We’re in a quiet little town,” she says. I think she’s implying it’s perhaps not a hotbed of S&M enthusiasts. Quite what this says about Swansea I’ll leave to the imagination.

. . . And speaking of Swansea, birthplace of that poet once voted "the drunkest man in the world", I found a pub with his name on it in his home town. Reviews were rather tepid, averaging 3.2 out of 5. I've included some of the more memorable ones.

Dylan Thomas - Fayre & Square

Swansea Enterprise Park, Llansamlet, Swansea, United Kingdom

24 reviews

went there this afternoon, had a "codfather and chips" myself and for my wife, i should have complained immedietly but my wife said to leave it, the batter was overcooked and greasy with not much fish which was mostly grey, it is repeating ...More

Lack of staff and food was not so good for what you pay. Nacho and pulled pork starter with severe lack of pulled pork for £7.. avoid.

Had a gd time and gd gd food

My food was cold. And the waitress spilled my desert on me. I complained to the lady in charge and she said she would send me a letter authorising a next free visit for 2. The letter never came. Obviously a ploy to get rid of me and my wife. Customers are not important to them that's why you pay upfront.

Food was ok but wait 10 minutes for drinks food went cold very short staff behind the bar only 1 service

Ok for cheap food and a pint, but poor service due to lack of staff

You get what you pay for. Buy cheap buy twice. Both appropriate for this establishment.

For the price the food is very good.

My 6 year old ill plus me an my partner has had food poising

We had food poisoning after eating here

This is a place we have been visiting for a number of years as it is local. It used to be brilliant then slipped drastically for a time but we believe has recovered. Many other people must think so too as it is usually relatively busy when we go midweek. It is not fine dining by any stretch of the imagination but food is USUALLY good and ample portions. We are a family group of older generation i.e. 50's - 90's and they cater for the tastes of the group which is all we want.

Well I can't review the food as after standing at the bar for ages, when the barmaid finally arrived she told me I had to join the queue of about 8 people ordering food, all of who had arrived after me.
I told her I had arrived before them but she wouldn't have it, so I left!

Awful place!!

Ordered food waited 1 hour food was cold and tasted vile never again what a disappointment to us all it tasted bit funny to

POST-POST RUMINATIONS. This can't be true. I mean, the whole story of Fifty Shades in the Oxfam store.

THIS can't be true. . .

. . . and THIS can't be true. . .

. . . or not to this extent, anyway. That igloo-looking thing would require HUNDREDS of donated copies of Fifty Shades. There aren't even that many people in Swansea, let alone older women with dirty minds who were willing to shell out however-many-pence for this thing a few years ago and are now bloody sick of it all.

The copies look identical, and they wouldn't. There would be various different editions, as there always are with bestsellers. Some would be without their dust jackets, or even their covers if the readers had gnawed them off in a fit of frustrated horniness.

This just doesn't make sense to me.

Are these really copies of Fifty Shades at all, or fake books? If they are, they were remaindered by a large retail chain, or perhaps sent over by the publisher (though it's unlikely they'd want to sell their product by donation in an Oxfam store in small-town Wales). Or this is a display in a whole different store, maybe in another part of the world - who's going to know, anyway?

And who in Swansea has the cleverness to make a stack of Fifty Shades symmetrical enough to rival Mr. Whipple's giant tower of Charmin Bathroom Tissue?

I am sure it's a hoax, though even Snopes hasn't caught on yet. I think it's meant to poke good-natured fun at the book, at Swansea, at Oxfam, at - oh never mind. I'm not even sure any more.

We've been Onioned here. Now I feel just a little bit foolish.

  Visit Margaret's Amazon Author Page!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

She will be missed

Leftover sexy Young Frankenstein gif

. . . that I couldn't find a space for anywhere, but I made it so here it is.

Abby Normal: or, how do you work this thing?, part II

The article below (not written by me, I'm borrowing it not-for-profit) is a followup to my last post about home brain-zapping devices. This one is a "brain wearable" (I am not kidding you), which is some sort of ultra-sophisticated iphone that you strap to your head. Here it is described as all good, with no risks. It relaxes you, it invigorates you, it helps you think with blinding lucidity and get an advantage over the next guy with all the predatory grace of a Bengal tiger.

But as with taking a martini to relax and de-stress after work, one may be fine, but ten may be fatal. If you use this thing day after week after year, if you do in fact get addicted to it (and people get addicted to everything these days), how will you ever function without it?

What if your battery dies mid-thought?

Will it, in fact, REPLACE thought altogether, and induce a euphoric, highly-desirable, permanent vegetative state?

And (more important than anything!), will it enhance sexual performance? Can it be turned up or down to get just the right degree of stiffness (for no woman in her right mind would ever go near one of these; it's a strictly testosterone-driven trip)? Can it be adjusted for length of performance: one second; ten seconds; THIRTY seconds (to automatically drive your partner to moaning orgasmic heights)?

Think of it. Sex can be dialled up or down now, pre-set, and the gizmo can just take over for you. Call up your girl friend, tell her your problems are solved and you don't need that pesky counselling any more. I can see this taking Silicon Valley by storm.

Myself, I'm more interested in the Donald-Trump-obliterating aspect of the thing. There's a guarantee on this: says so right in the brochure, actually, but the risk to your cerebral cortex is considerable. One thousand frontal brain cells have to die to kill one memory of Trump.

But hey: who needs a cerebral cortex when you have an app that will literally reboot your brain?

Turn that thing up to eleven!

Thync CEO: Merging biology and technology will dominate this century

The story behind the miracle brain-zapping wearable

Wednesday February 18, 2015 By James Stables

Isy Goldwasser risked everything to launch Thync, the mood altering brain wearable that was the talk of CES 2015. When he quit his job at chemical engineering company Symyx in 2010, Goldwasser knew he wanted to create a device that could tap into the inner workings of our brains and emotions; the problem was, he didn't know how.

"It began with a huge risk. We knew there was a way to activate brain cells and pathways, but it was just a case of how. We wanted to give people access to their neural circuits," Goldwasser told Wareable.

The company's CEO is at his office in Silicon Valley. It's 9am and he's already plugged himself into Thync, his neurosignalling wearable for a shot of 'energy' Vibe. On the other side of the Atlantic, the Wareable office is about to go home, where – at some point in 2015 when Thync is released – we will be able sit down to enjoy a similar dose of 'calm' after a long day.

Like a futuristic espresso or a wearable technology whisky on-the-rocks, Thync is designed for those sluggish mornings or winding down after a long day. And Goldwasser's team are using it daily, and see others doing the same.

"I had the belief that we could find those pathways and tap into the delivered benefits. That meant I had to go looking for technology, and a lot of it didn't work," he explained.

"That's not being a smartarse. You go on a journey and try different directions. That's how you get ahead of the whole world."

On that journey Goldwasser met Dr. Jamie Tyler, a professor of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. His 'U+ technology' made the product a reality, and Thync was born.
Choose your vibe

Thync is a small unit that works by placing small electrodes at the base of the neck. When you wear the device, a low current stimulates the nerves and cells in the brain, controlled by a smartphone app. You use the app to choose a "Vibe" to tune your brain too.

"We as humans aren't wired to call up our biology. But imagine if you could control your decisions when you want to, control your focus when you want to, or your creativity or self control, life would be a lot easier.

"We knew that Dr. Tyler had worked on ways from the outside in to activate nerves and brain cells. And we know that the pathways and networks make us everything we are," Goldwasser explained.

"So at the most basic level it began with the belief that if we have great people, we will find the pathways and network that we will tap into that will lead to benefits, to improve people's lives," he said.

What's more, Goldwasser said that the rise of Apple Health and Google Fit are paving the way for this kind of product.

"The proliferation of apps in healthcare mean that people are excited to do something different. Especially when it's an alternative to having a drink or taking a tablet, when those things are clearly unhealthy."

Whether Thync's indeed healthier isn't the decision of Goldwasser, it's that of the FDA, and the US medical regulatory body has done the company a favour by changing its guidelines over wearable devices.

"We're working with the FDA. It's great because they changed the guidelines last month, which separate what a wellness device is from a medical device. We certainly fit the wellness device category. We're non invasive. So we're in the right place with the FDA."

With FDA regulation off the cards, it means that Thync is on for a 2015 launch, though understandably, Goldwasser couldn't be drawn on the specifics.

Frontier psychiatry

The problem for Goldwasser was that the promise of a device that can put you in charge of your deepest emotions sounds too good to be true, and if it wasn't for his reputation, it may never have got off the ground.

"If it wasn't for my success at Symyx, no-one would have touched Thync. It was way too academic, it was a science experiment.

"I was really attracted to the frontier where biology and technology happen. Technology and biology will merge and react over time. If there's one frontier that will dominate this century, it's this one."

Biology and technology may be the future tech of the century, but here in 2015, there's plenty of it around. From advances in biotechnology, exoskeletons, cancer detecting bands to digital spinal chords, silicon and flash are melding. But unlike the emotion sensors, brainwave detecting gadgets and lucid dreaming wonder wearables, Goldwasser says that Thync is the real deal.

"What we have is unique, and while other companies are exploring the same area, one thing makes us different: we're not sensing. Sensing doesn't work. We activate what's already there."

It makes perfect sense, yet once the barriers of biology and tech have been broken down, could we go beyond energy and relaxation? Is it possible to go beyond emotions, and start helping people become better at sport or academically superior?

Goldwasser says that "the focus of Thync isn't on changing people, it's about giving them access to what they already have." However, that doesn't mean it's not possible to use the same techniques to unlock 'superhuman' powers.

"Theoretically, we could start making someone better. We're not going there, but people will."

  Visit Margaret's Amazon Author Page!

Monday, March 28, 2016

How do you work this thing?: Electroshock in the home

No kidding, the things I find. Now people are shocking their brain. They're buying these things on Craigslist or eBay, possibly used or faulty, and sticking electrodes on themselves because they heard somewhere that it "might help" with Parkinson's, depression, and whatever-else you want to get rid of.

The problem? There are no instructions! If there are instructions, they're probably badly-translated, like the How To Stop The Smoking thing I just posted. Unintelligible. So you have to guess at what you're supposed to be doing, or else go on one of those online forums. You know the ones I mean. A ragbag assortment of ill-informed opinions flavoured with paranoia about mainstream medicine.

This all seems about as safe as doing surgery on yourself, but in this era of home medicine, anything is possible and almost everything is unregulated. I can understand people's reluctance to go to the doctor. If I go to the doctor with a troubling symptom, s/he is likely to give me something to make the symptom go away. End of story. Whether it's pointing to cancer, heart disease or Parkinson's, symptom gone = patient well, or at least not complaining any more.

So I can sort-of understand this, but I'd never buy one, any more than I'd buy a used vibrator. It might short out on me and cause all kinds of trouble.

But if THIS shorts out on you, you might be in the worst sort of trouble.

Experts wary of electrical brain stimulation at home


Researchers are testing mild electrical stimulation to improve brain function and mental health, but warn do-it-yourselfers to be wary of treating themselves with models available online.

Dr. Fidel Vila-Rodriguez, director of the Non-Invasive Neurostimulation Therapies (NINET) Lab at the University of B.C., is starting to lend devices for home use to people with Parkinson’s disease and depression that will deliver a weak electrical current through electrodes placed on their temples.

The machines in his experiments can’t be adjusted above two milliamps — similar to the power created by two AA batteries. In contrast, some unregulated brain stimulators sold online can deliver about 10 times that amount of current, something he calls “worrisome.” It is an amount of electricity still small enough that users might not notice an immediate effect — or danger.

“You may feel just a tingling sensation, so the perception is of low risk, in part because of that. But the truth is we don’t really know about these unregulated devices,” he says.

Vila-Rodriguez’s research uses machines approved by federal authorities. “We’re using a bonafide medical device licensed by Health Canada.”

In contrast, products sold online with names like Thync and are in a grey area, approved by no government body in North America. They are not classified as medical devices by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or Health Canada. Yet their websites promise better brain performance, relaxation or energizing as desired.

Stanford University law grad and former UBC masters student Roland Nadler has a small collection of them which he doesn’t use on himself, but rather as examples of gaps in government regulations.

“These devices are a bit before their time. Or if they have a future, it’s almost always going to be with a professional intermediary,” says Nadler, currently a fellow at Stanford University’s Centre for Law and the Biosciences in California. “It’s too complex and sophisticated of a technology for most people to do at home.”

There’s an 8,000-member discussion group on the networking website Reddit about transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS, filled with home users asking each other how to use the gear, which comes with limited instructions. “What positions of the electrodes are used for depression? It is surprisingly difficult for a me to find a no bull**** guide on accurate placements. Can anyone help?” Or, more alarming, “How can I tell which cable is the anode and which is the cathode? Are the blues one and the whites others?”

Nadler says this sort of chat shows how difficult self-treatment can be. Placing the electrodes is a key step, and some sets make it easy to confuse the cathode, which is positively charged, with the negatively charged anode. Depending on the condition under treatment, the current must flow in a specific direction to a specific area of the brain. Reversing the prescribed flow of electricity could excite the brain when the user sought calming effects — a mistake someone seeking relief from insomnia, for instance, might not want to make.

“Getting the anode and cathode mixed up is serious business,” says the understated Nadler.

But the lure of better living through electricity is compelling for amateurs and professionals alike.

P. S. (or P. B.): yes, I know I just used this image, but it's great, isn't it? She seems like the kind of person who might stick electrodes on her head for a do-it-yourself version of electroconvulsive therapy. 

I wonder now, in this age when people become addicted to absolutely everything, if they might become hooked on these DIY brain-shockers. Or use it as a kinky sex aid, with role-playing: you be Frankenstein, I'll be the mad doctor! You be Bugs Bunny, I'll be the chicken! You be Jack Nicholson, and. . . you get the idea.

If ten volts feels good, could twenty feel even better? How about a hundred: will that erase all memory of Donald Trump?  If all that juice doesn't heal or treat anything, it might obliterate all trace of symptoms so you no longer care whether you're sick or well. Just keep turning up that dial, the one that goes to eleven. . . 

This could catch on.

  Visit Margaret's Amazon Author Page!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Knit one - no, don't knit one

This is a case of federalizing the simple.

The following is a standard, free pattern for knitting slippers, the kind everyone makes five minutes after they learn to knit -  followed by a "variation" by something called the Authentic Knitting Board. This must be some obscure organization whose purpose is to spoil the pleasure of everything you do. Kind of like the Ministry of Love, which deals in hate; the Ministry of Peace, which deals in war; etc. etc. So this must be the Ministry of Knitting, which deals in unravelling your mental health.

Original Pattern

Using two strands of wool, cast on 30 stitches.

Knit in garter stitch for a bit less than the length of your foot (they tend to stretch, so don't worry if they seem a bit tight at first).

Then in the next row, knit one, knit two together to the end of the row. The final row is knitting two stitches together all across the row.

Then break off the yarn, thread it through the remaining stitches, and pull them up. Use the rest of the yarn to sew up the top, and the casting-on yarn to sew up the heel. Repeat for second slipper.

Ministry of Knitting version: Made to Fit Double Knit Slippers

By: Authentic Knitting Board

With a few simple measurements and calculations, you will be able to make slippers for anyone, from your child’s baby doll up to Great Grandpa! Not only that, but you will be able to use any weight yarn, the stitch of your choice, and different gauge knitting boards. You truly get to be the designer. Make them big and bulky or lightweight. Design them with a stand up, bootie style, or moccasin cuff. Or, make them with no cuff at all. Stripes, novelty yarns, and different stitch patterns are all ways to make slippers that are unique. Let your imagination soar. These make great gifts, and are quick and easy. This may be the last slipper pattern you will ever need, thanks to Authentic Knitting Board!

One of our loyal readers came up with this helpful guide to creating these slippers. View the Slipper Calculations Guide to gain some valuable assistance in knitting these cute slippers.

Skill Level-Beginner

Skills Required-Casting on, Binding off, Decreasing, Stitch pattern of choice


Double sided knitting board with the number of needles required to cast on
Yarn of choice
Notions-Yarn needle, crochet hook

Samples were made with the 28” Authentic Knitting Board with Lion Brand Chunky USA—Purple Slipper, KK Blue Long Loom with 2 strands of worsted weight yarn—Red/Blue Slipper, and D├ęcor
Accents 12” Fine Gauge AJAL with Lion Brand Magic Stripes—Striped Slipper.

Important--Read the “Help Section” before starting.


The first step in making these slippers is to measure the size of the foot. Four measurements are needed (measure to the nearest ¼”): A. From the top of the ankle bone down under the heel to the top of the ankle bone on the other side. B. From the heel to the middle of the arch. C. The width of the foot at the widest part. You may want to add ½”-1” to this measurement for more ease. The amount of ease your slipper will have will vary with the stitch you choose. A stretchy stitch won’t need as much ease, while a firmer stitch will require more. The amount of ease required also depends on how snug or loose you like your slipper to fit. Adding no ease will make the slipper snug and close fitting. Experience will tell. D. From the heel to the toe. You may want to add ½”-1” to this measurement if you want “grow room.” Record these here: A._____ B._____ C._____ D._____. Make sure to measure carefully so that the slipper will turn out the right size. There is also a place to record these numbers on page 2, for ease in doing the calculations.

Now you need to make a swatch with your chosen yarn, stitch, and knitting board. I recommend casting on at least 12 needles, more for smaller gauge boards, and knitting for about 3-4 inches. Keep track of how many rows you knit. You will need that number later. Remove the swatch by binding off with a crochet hook (see step #3 in the pattern). Now, measure the width of the knitted piece. Record this here:_____. Divide this number by the number of needles cast on. Record this number here: W._____. This tells you how much knitting you get per needle. Measure the length of the knitted piece. Record this here:_____. Divide this number by the number of rows knitted. Record this number here: L._____. This tells you how much knitting you get per row. Make sure to measure carefully so that the slipper will turn out the right size.

Divide (A) by (W). Record this here:_____. Add 8 to this number. If you added some ease to (C), are using thin yarn or a fine gauge board, or you just want a taller cuff, you may want to add 10-12 to the first calculation in the place of the 8, to give you more cuff. If you want a stand up cuff, you can add 6 or less in the place of the 8. If you want a “footie” style slipper (no cuff), don’t add anything to the first number. Round to the nearest whole number. Record this here: E._____.

Divide (B) by (L). Round to the nearest whole number. Record this here: F._____.

Divide (C) by (W). Double this number. Record this number here:_____. Now, subtract this number from the total number of needles cast on (E). Round to an even number, if necessary. Record this number here:_____. Divide by 2. Record this here: G._____.

Divide (D) by (L). Record this number here:_____. Subtract (F) from this number. Record this number here:_____. Subtract 3 from this number. Record this here: H._____.

A._____ B._____ C._____ D._____ (From page 1)

Decimal equivalents for common fractions (to help with calculations): 1/8=0.125 1/4 =0.25 3/8=0.375 1/2 =0.5 5/8=0.625 3/4=0.75 7/8=0.875

Sample Slipper: For those, like me, who like to “see” what they are doing, here’s an example of using the calculations to make a slipper on a fine gauge board with worsted weight yarn. First I’ll list the measurements and then show the calculations step by step.

1. Foot Measurement: A.—7.5”, B.—3”, C.—3”, D.—6.75”

2. Swatch Measurements: W—4” / 16 needles = 0.25” L—2.5” / 13 rows = 0.2”

3. 7.5(A) / 0.25(W) = 30 8 = 38 E.—38 (Cast on stitches)

4. 3(B) / 0.2(L) = 15 F.—15 (Knit this many rows)

5. 3(C) / 0.25(W) = 12 x 2 = 24, 38(E) – 24 = 14 / 2 = 7 G.—7 (Bind off this many stitches from each end.)

6. 6.75(D) / 0.2(L) = 33.75, 33.75 – 15(F) = 18.75 – 3 = 15.75 (I’ll round this up to 16) H.—16

(Knit 16 rows)

Cast on (E)____ stitches with your favorite method. Leave a long tail that will be used to sew up the back of the slipper later. Instructions for the Stockinette cast-on are at the end of the pattern.
Knit (F)____ rows in stitch of choice.
Bind off (G)____ stitches on EACH end of the board. To bind off on the end opposite the working yarn, simply slip a crochet hook into the first stitch on the front and back board, and pull the first loop through the second loop. Now, pick up the next front stitch and pull it through the loop on the hook, then the next back stitch. Continue until the required number of stitches are bound off. At this point, you’ll still have one loop on your crochet hook. Place this loop on the end needle on the back board. There will now be 2 loops on the end back needle. (See top picture.) Do the same to the other side with the working yarn, but pick up the back stitch first and then the front stitch (where the working yarn is attached). Also, it is very important to lay the working yarn across the stitches as you bind off. (See middle picture.) It will be buried inside and then be right where you want it when you are finished binding off.

Knit (H)____rows. On the first row, knit 2 stitches over 1 on the two back needles that have 3 loops on them from binding off. After the first row is knitted, all the needles should have 1 loop on them. Continue knitting the remaining rows as usual.

Decrease half of the stitches. Do this by lifting stitch 1 onto needle 2 then stitch 3 onto needle 4. Repeat for the whole board, both front and back. You will end up with every other needle being empty. If you have an odd number of stitches cast on, the last 2 needles will not have an empty needle between them. Wrap the row, skipping the empty needles (see bottom picture). If an odd number of stitches are cast on, you will wrap the last 2 needles consecutively. Knit the bottom 2 stitches over the top stitch. You should now have 1 stitch on every other needle. Shuffle all the stitches together so that there are no empty needles.

Knit 1 row.

Repeat step #5, except you don’t have to shuffle all the stitches together after decreasing.
Remove slipper by cutting the working yarn, leaving a long tail. Thread the yarn tail onto a yarn needle and slip the stitches, starting with the far left back needle (the one opposite the working yarn), back and forth across the board (1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, etc.) onto the yarn needle. Remove from the board.

Finish up by binding off the cast-on stitches (if the stockinette cast-on was used). Bind off is the same as done in step #3 of the pattern starting with the stitch on the end opposite the yarn tail. After binding off the last stitch, wrap the yarn tail around the hook and pull it through the loop. The piece will look like a capital T. Fold it in half from side to side. Sew up the back seam using the long tail left from casting on. When about 1”-1 ½” (more for larger sizes, less for smaller sizes) from the bottom, bring the bottom of the slipper down to meet the seam you are sewing (this will look like a capital T—see picture below right) and finish sewing closed. This gives the back heel a nice shape. Thread the yarn tail at the toe onto a yarn needle. Run the needle back through the toe stitches again and pull tight, then sew up the top of the slipper. You can sew just the top of the slipper and leave the cuff open to fold over moccasin style, or sew all the way up the cuff and then fold over for more of a “bootie” look, or sew all the way up the cuff and leave it standing up. Weave in all the loose ends.

Turn right side out.

Congratulations!! You’re done. Now make another slipper.


WAIT! THERE'S MORE! I just discovered a "help section" which is meant to make this project MUCH simpler.

Help Section:

When referring to the front board, this is the board nearest you when it is lying flat. The back board is the board furthest from you when lying flat. When making your calculations, you will run into partial numbers. You can either round up or round down. A lot depends on how stretchy your stitch or yarn is, if you want to leave “grow room”, and how you like your slippers to fit. I usually round up so the slippers won’t end up too small. When calculating (W) and (L) round the number to the nearest hundredth (2 places to the right of the decimal). For example if (W)=0.34373, record 0.34. But if the number in the thousandth place is 5 or above then you would round up. So, 0.34573 would become 0.35. If you have measured correctly, your slippers should turn out the right size. If you are unsure, or just want to check your measurements, measure the knitted piece at the end of step #2 and step #5. It should be the same as (B)(after step #2) and almost (D)(after step #5). If it’s shorter, add a row or two. If it’s a little longer, you could just leave it, or you could pull back a row or two. Remember when measuring after step #5 that the piece will be a bit shorter than (D) because you still have 3 rows to knit. When in doubt, take the time to measure. You’ll be glad you did. After binding off from each end, you may have to adjust how you wrap your needles to keep your stitch pattern. For example, when using ribbing you may (not always) have to switch from (1A to 3B) to (2A to 4B) to keep in pattern. By observing the pattern in the knitting, you will be able to tell if you need to adjust your wrapping. If using stockinette stitch, this will not be a problem. When wrapping the last 3 rows, I usually switch to stockinette stitch, as it’s easier to wrap with the empty needles. For a nicer finish when sewing up the front and back seam of the fold down cuff, sew the cuff seam on the right side (outside) of the slipper. The stitches will be hidden when the cuff is folded. This applies only to the part of the seam that makes up the cuff. The rest of the top and back seam is sewn on the wrong side (inside). Any size yarn can be used, but chunky/bulky yarn will give you more thickness and last longer. Ribbing is a very nice stitch to make slippers in, as it is thick and comfortable. If you are using a larger gauge knitting board, it may be helpful to wrap the board 3 times, when casting on, and then lift the bottom loop over the top 2. Then wrap as normal, always lifting 1 over 2. This will give more thickness. Using two strands of worsted weight yarn, held together, will make a nice thick slipper and give you many color combinations. Baby booties can be made by using baby or sport weight yarn and a small or fine gauge knitting board set at ¼” spacing. For closer fitting, lightweight “footie” style slippers, sock yarn and a fine gauge knitting board work well. Crochet a chain and weave it through the cuff of the slipper and tie into a bow. Be creative!! Keep a record of your swatches. That way when you want to make a pair of slippers out of the same yarn, you’ll already have that part done.

Definitions and Stitches:

Working Yarn—The yarn attached to the skein.
Stockinette cast on and stitch—Place a slip knot on the back left needle of the board. (“Back” meaning the board furthest from you when lying flat.) Call this 1A. Bring yarn down from 1A to 2B.
(This is the front of the board.) Wrap around 2B and go back up to 3A. Continue wrapping every other needle for the desired amount of stitches. Then take the yarn straight across to the needle directly across from the needle that was wrapped last, and wrap back to the beginning, covering all the needles that are empty. Lay a long piece of yarn (this is called the anchor yarn—see picture), about twice as long as the stitches, across the stitches and then wrap again. Every needle will now have 2 loops on it. Hook the loops over by lifting the bottom loop over the top loop and off the needle. Push the ends of the anchor yarn through the boards and tie loosely under the boards. You are now cast on. Continue wrapping in this pattern for the stockinette stitch. You only lay the anchor yarn on the cast on row.

If you love making slippers, check out our 14 Cozy Crochet and Knit Slipper Patterns!


(No, don't.)


Yes! The comments section echoed much of what I felt about this Byzantine pattern. (Look it up.) Only one lady complained about all the whining.  The rest were definitely indignant. Knitters are strangely protective of their craft or science, and don't want it adulterated by newfangled gizmos, thank you very much. Most of them gave it one star. My favorite comment was from the disgruntled lady who had been knitting for 71 years and could not make head-nor-tails of this thing. I think the problem is that it was filed under general knitting rather than loom knitting. They call this a "knitting board", which most people have never heard of, and which is definitely confusing: I truly thought at first that it was an organization, like the Board of Education. (A darker connotation might be waterboarding.) Given the complications, I think I'm going to give knitting boards a miss.

I can't believe that this is exactly the pattern I want to knit but, after reading all through to try an understand what it was all about, I discover it required a loom! Why on earth is it under "Knitting"?

I too was looking for a double knit slipper pattern using regular needles. I don't own a loom either

What is a knitting board??? I agree with the lady that knitted for 71 years!!

I have been looking for slipper patterns for a friend. These patterns look great. I made the mistake of copying out a couple not realizing a knitting board is required. What on earth is a knitting board first & why can't you give us some good patterns without requiring one of these boards. Very frustrating. Jan

And just what is a knitting board? Knitting is with two needles, please have this pattern for knitting and keep "novelty" crafts under a different section. Thanks

First of all, "loom knit" should have been included in the title so those who were looking for loom knitting patterns would know to look here and for those who use needles would know NOT to look at this pattern. Two, it is hard to find loom knitting patterns whereas it is not hard to find knitting patterns for needle knitting. SO, for those who don't even like the idea of knitting looms, you should go look for needle knitting patterns. There are PLENTY out there, I've seen them.

I cannot believe the whining people who are complaining about a FREE pattern. Obviously a lot of work went into this pattern whether it is for a loom or straight needles. Show a little gratitude ladies. BTW, guess how I found this pattern? I clicked on "Loom Patterns" in the sidebar. Don't believe it? Here's the address to this page where the pattern is.

Hello, I don't use a knitting board and really don't want to go out and purchase this high priced item. When knitting slippers, why didn't you add the directions for standard knitting instructions? It would really made this so much easier for me and everyone else to read these patterns.

Never mind knitting boards! I have been kitting the usual way for 71 years - can't you put this pattern into a straight pattern, NO "KNITTINGBOARDS"????

I have never used a knitting board. Is there a way to convert this pattern to hand knitting? Thank you!

wonderfully complete in every way! thanks